Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Gay sex no longer a crime in India

India's top court is expected to rule on gay sex Image India's top court is expected to rule on gay sex
Charlie Simmons | 08 September, 2018, 10:30

The law was enacted way back in 1860 by the British who believed such kind of sexual acts were against the order of nature.

The Supreme Court said other aspects of Section 377 remain in force.

Activists and well-wishers outside jumped for joy while waving gay pride flags and placards reading "Love Wins" and "LGBT rights are human rights".

"The law had become a weapon for harassment for the LGBT community", Chief Justice Dipak Misra said as he announced the landmark verdict.

Justice Malhotra reportedly said that history owed an apology to the members of the LGBT community and their families for the delay in providing redressal for the ignominy and ostracism that they have suffered through the centuries.

In his separate ruling on Thursday, Justice Chandrachud opened the doors and windows for securing equal rights for members of the LGBT community.

Activists, members of the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer) community, authors and politicians welcomed the verdict - which also said society can not dictate a sexual relationship between consenting adults - with many cutting cakes and unfurling the rainbow flag.

He also said that homosexuality can not be regarded as a mental disorder and gays have the right to live with dignity. "Therefore, Section 377 IPC in its present form violates Article 19 (1)(a) of the Constitution".

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The judgement came on a batch of writ petitions filed by dancer Navtej Jauhar, journalist Sunil Mehra, chef Ritu Dalmia, hoteliers Aman Nath and Keshav Suri and business executive Ayesha Kapur as well as 20 former and current students of the IITs.

United Nations India Thursday lauded the Supreme Court for striking down a "key component" of IPC's Section 377 which criminalises "specific sexual acts between adults" and said the judgement will boost efforts to eliminate stigma and discrimination against LGBTI persons.

"Courts do not give advance rulings on issues that are not before it". In 2009, the Delhi High Court decriminalised sex between consenting adults of the same gender.

Lawyer Anand Grover, who was representing Naz Foundation against Section 377, talks to the media after the Supreme Court verdict.

"Decriminalising homosexuality and abolishing #Section377 is a huge thumbs up for humanity and equal rights!"

On its official Twitter handle, the Congress said, "We join the people of India & the LGBTQIA+ community in their victory over prejudice".

A government functionary, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said, "Decriminalisation of same-sex acts was fine but the government would oppose any demand to legalise same-sex marriage".

The Supreme Court verdict is being cheered by millions across the country, far beyond the gay community, which has fought for decades for the right to be treated equally.

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